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The Diplomat Re-Opens Its Doors On Hollywood Beach After 14 Months

An image outside The Diplomat in Hollywood Beach
Caitie Switalski Muñoz
/
WLRN
The Diplomat reopened on June 1, 2021 after a 14-month hiatus in the time of COVID-19.

Broward County's largest hotel reopened after more than a year of staying closed during the pandemic.

The Diplomat Beach Resort in Hollywood reopened its doors Tuesday after its closure during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 1,000-room hotel campus had stayed closed, largely due to the loss of large, in-person conferences.

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Out of 900 people the hotel employs, just under 200 are back so far.

Laurens Zieren, the Diplomat's general manager, said the rest of the employees will come back gradually — as more conventions start meeting in person again.

"These large conferences, they take time to organize — that's where the majority of the team members work, is either in food and beverage related to large conferences, or just a conference space itself," said Zieren. "So we're waiting for that to come back."

He said the first convention due back at the Diplomat since the pandemic began is booked for the third week of this month — with more following in August and September.

Keeping 209,000 square feet of convention center space, plus 1,000 rooms, empty for so long during the pandemic felt odd to Zieren.

"Imagine a stadium being empty," said Zieren. "You know, it feels very lonely."

And the resort did not have a labor shortage like what much of the hospitality industry across South Florida is seeing.

"I do realize that there is a lot of issues out there," Zieren said. "We don't have that issue ... I would say 90% of our team members are actually coming back."

After the first few guests were checked in Tuesday, Hollywood Mayor Josh Levy presented the resort with a proclamation to celebrate the reopening and the landmark property's long history in the city.

"This is such an important day for the city of Hollywood and for all of South Florida," said Levy. "Because it really symbolizes the return of our one of our largest industries, which is tourism and hospitality."

The mayor said this day, "means so much to our local economy." When asked by a reporter how much the Diplomat's closure impacted the city of Hollywood's budget, Levy did not directly disclose a figure.

Now that the hotel has reopened, all employees are required to wear masks when indoors, per the Hilton policy.

Hotel guests are on the honor system — those who are fully vaccinated are not required to wear masks.

Image from iOS.jpg
Caitie Switalski Muñoz
People gather in the lobby of the Diplomat Beach Resort at its reopening in Hollywood on June 1.